Museum welcomes two new tarantulas

Wednesday, 06 January 2016

Canterbury Museum has welcomed two new live tarantulas to Discovery, its natural history centre for kids.

Brazilian Black Tarantula

Brazilian Black Tarantula.

A Brazilian black tarantula (Grammostola pulchra) (pictured right) and a Mexican red knee (Brachypelma smithi) arrived from Wellington Zoo just before Christmas joining three other tarantulas - all from South America - in the Museum’s collection.

The Brazilian black tarantula is a ground-dweller, which is also found in North Uruguay. The Museum’s specimen is a captive-reared female, about five years old and has a life expectancy of up to 20 years.

The Mexican red knee is a desert species from the western faces of the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre del Sur mountain ranges in Mexico. It is a protected, threatened species. The Museum’s specimen is three years old and was captive reared at Wellington Zoo. It could also live up to 20 years, if it turns out to be a female.

Museum staff feed each of the tarantulas a live locust once a week. Cor Vink, Curator Natural History says that all spiders need to eat live food because they can only feed on fluids. “They bathe their prey in digestive juices to liquefy it then suck up all the liquid, leaving a wad of hard, mashed up exoskeleton behind.”

Admission to Discovery is $2; under three years free.